According to a new systematic review of published studies, doctors should be careful in prescribing antidepressant medications to depressed patients because the drugs have been linked to an increased risk in patients developing type 2 diabetes. The results of this study were reported in the latest issue of Diabetes Care.
For the study, researchers from the University of Southampton found that antidepressant use is climbing and that the drugs have been found to have a negative effect on glucose metabolism. While numerous studies have already linked antidepressant use to diabetes, the results of those studies have varied widely, depending on how the study was conducted and the number of participants involved. The results also varied on the type of drugs that were used in the studies.
For this particular study, led by Southampton health psychologist Dr. Katharine Barnard, researchers reviewing those previous studies. She and her team analyzed data collected from 22 studies and three previous reviews that all sought to find a link between diabetes and antidepressants. The researchers did note that dosage and duration of medicine use played a factor in who was more likely to develop type 2 diabetes vs. who wasn’t.
“Our research shows that when you take away all the classic risk factors of type 2 diabetes — weight gain, lifestyle, etc. — there is something about antidepressants that appears to be an independent risk factor,” Barnard said. “While depression is an important clinical problem and antidepressants are effective treatments for this debilitating condition, clinicians need to be aware of the potential risk of diabetes, particularly when using antidepressants in higher doses or for longer duration.”
Antidepressant medication like Paxil and Effexor (both SSRIs) are a common drug treatment for depression, which is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and is the third-highest prescribed category of drugs in the United States. Drugs like Paxil and Effexor have been proven to cause violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior and they have been linked to birth defects when used during pregnancy.